Diablo 2: Resurrected Preview
Diablo 2: Resurrected is coming this year! Finally, Blizzard is doing what so many people wanted all along: releasing Diablo 2 again. Fans have been heavily divided by the myriad changes present in Diablo 3, you see. Innovations like freely shifting skill points, the lack of stat points, and unstoppable power creep have left many people longing for the old days. Well, soon you’ll be able to revisit those halcyon times with Diablo 2: Resurrected. Make no mistake: this is D2, exactly as you remember it.
Okay, there are a couple of tiny fixes. For one, you no longer have to create a whole new character just to move items around. Now, your stash has a shared tab! You just drop the items in question there, and voila! That massive two-handed sword you picked up with your Sorceress isn’t so useless after all. It’s a small thing, but a truly useful one. And yet, this innovation doesn’t violate the spirit of the original game. Same with the gold on the ground. Now you can just walk near it, and said gold gets added to your inventory. Don’t worry though, you can turn that one off if it feels too much like cheating to you.
Everything Is So Crisp
The biggest change, at least the one most apparent in this limited technical alpha, is the graphics. Every single object on screen is a clean, crisp upgrade from its original form. Character animations are smoother, skill effects look better, and the character models themselves look totally fresh. Here’s the thing, though: it all still looks and feels just like the original game. Maybe it’s the fact that the camera and the controls are identical, but the effect is fascinating. More than any other remaster I’ve played to date, Resurrected feels like an ideal version of the game we all remember from two decades ago. It’s the same thing with the sound. While the quality is improved, these are the songs and effects you remember, right down to the enemy death cries. It’s practically uncanny.
While the sound and visuals are an immediate improvement, the biggest changes are yet to come. Diablo 2 is really two separate games. Once you got online, the entire metagame completely shifted. Suddenly, it was all about Baal runs, Cow levels, and your magic item chance stats. But playing online has changed a lot in two decades. What will that look like with Resurrected? What, if anything, will Blizzard change with the new version? Even if they perfectly preserve the single player (which it seems like they have, so far), the true test will come with the multiplayer element.
So Ready For More Baal Runs
If you’re a D2 veteran, you know exactly what to expect with Resurrected. If not, this game will be a real shock to your system. Your decisions with skill and stat points are much more permanent, the consequences for dying are more serious, and the road to becoming a total powerhouse is a long one. You don’t realize how much Diablo 3 shook up the formula until you go back to the previous game in the series. Yet, that arduous journey is still a fun one. Struggling so much to become your best self makes success incredibly satisfying. That lower drop rate makes your first legendary item a real fireworks-in-the-sky kind of event. Things like juggling potion and ammo supplies, dropping portals so you can get back to the boss in less than six minutes, and blowing all your money on gambling? All of these little obstacles make your eventual victory so much sweeter.
As polished as Resurrected feels right now, there’s still a lot we haven’t seen yet. Only three classes were available this weekend, for starters. While I’m confident the remaining classes will feel just as faithful to the original release, it’s still up in the air. We’re also waiting to see how the multiplayer components will be updated. For me at least, that’s the true Diablo 2 experience. That’s what will make or break the remaster. Thankfully, what Blizzard showed off with this technical alpha looks clean and crisp. I’m confident that the full release of Diablo 2: Resurrected will at least look and feel like our cherished memories.
***A PC code for the technical alpha was provided by the publisher***